CMC founder Jim Frank shares some insights

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

CMC founder Jim Frank shares some insightsDuring a recent visit out to California to work on a new and improved Roco/CMC harness, we had the opportunity to visit with Mr. Jim Frank, Founder and Chairman of CMC Rescue.

For 34 years, Jim has been active with the Santa Barbara County Search & Rescue Team. In 1978, he founded CMC Rescue to provide quality equipment for rescuers. His pioneering efforts in technical rescue have had a substantial influence on the evolution of the products and techniques used today. He currently serves on the NFPA Technical Rescue Committee, the NFPA Technical Committee on Special Operations Clothing & Equipment, the ANSI/ASSE Z359 Committee on Fall Protection, the ASTM F32 Committee on Search & Rescue, and the SPRAT Safe Practices for Rope Access Work Committee. We asked Jim to share some insight with us… particularly on his experience and involvement with the NFPA Technical Rescue Committee over the years.

Have NFPA standards had the positive impact they were supposed to have?
In our many conversations with end users, we find that the standards are still not clearly understood. Manufacturing standards such as NFPA 1983 increase the ability for the user to make intelligent decisions between various products. I’m also told that they provide the ability for departments to buy with grant money since it is a nationally recognized standard. User standards such as 1006 and 1670 provide a great framework for the knowledge needed to perform rescues. However, they do not necessarily equate to the competence and experience needed to safely and effectively perform a rescue.

NFPA 1983 concerning Rescue Equipment has been updated/changed over the years. Do you think it’s where it needs to be at this time?
Standard 1983 is continuing to grow in coverage and address a wider scope of products used in rescue. We’re now talking about adding litters and patient extrication devices where in the past it was limited to protective equipment for the firefighter or rescuer. However, the effectiveness of 1983 is completely dependent on the consumer making the decision to select “certified” products instead of accepting a product claiming to “meet or exceed” the standard or choosing a non-certified product.

Do you think the NFPA needs to consider adding professional qualifications for emergency escape for firefighters?
In general, no. While training is essential, access to emergency egress should be available the first day on the job. It could possibly be included as part of NFPA 1001 Standard for Fire Fighter Professional Qualifications.

What is the biggest change you’ve seen in rescue over recent years?

An expansion in the number of agencies getting into rescue and a growing interest in developing rescue capabilities in other countries where it has not been a tradition. In the area of equipment…lower stretch ropes, lighter hardware with better performance figures, mechanical belay devices like the Petzl ASAP, Traverse 540, and the CMC MPD. There’s also been some trend toward full-body harnesses. From a business standpoint, there has been an increase of even more off-shore products that are competing on price rather than quality and performance.

If you had to give one piece of advice to rescuers, what would it be?

Continue to hone your professional skills with up-to-date training and regular practice. The rescue technician’s skills are still the most important ingredient in a successful rescue.
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‘What pride to be Chilean’: Rescue effort galvanizes Chilean citizens

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

‘What pride to be Chilean’: Rescue effort galvanizes Chilean citizensBy Greg Botelho, CNN - October 13, 2010 3:40 p.m. EDT

Copiapo, which could have been the site of mass mourning had the miners’ rescue effort gone awry, instead became home to a patriotic festival.

The strong national pride was omnipresent: from the red, white and blue Chilean flags that permeated the rescue site to the chants that rang out as the miners rose to the surface.

It was clear, too, many miles away — whether it was the hugs and tears of joy among the throngs watching the scene on a flickering big-screen TV set up in a Santiago city square, the champagne corks popping at the Chilean embassy in Washington, or countless bite-sized conversations in the vast reaches of cyberspace where the Chilean miners were a top trending discussion on Twitter.

“What emotion! What happiness! What pride to be Chilean!” wrote Chilean President Sebastian Pinera, on his own Twitter page.

Like many emerging countries, Chile has not been without its challenges. It continues to emerge from the shadows of dictator Augusto Pinochet’s rule from 1974 to 1990, when up to 30,000 people vanished or were killed because of their political beliefs. Economic disparities and political divisions still exist, with the global recession having a real impact in this Andean nation. Yet, its past and recent challenges notwithstanding, Chile has also emerged as a model in Latin America and the world, given its solid economic base and fervent democracy.
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Confined Space Tech II – Students From Around the Globe

Friday, October 08, 2010

Students from “around the globe” attended the recent Confined Space Tech II class in Baton Rouge. Yet another large group with 5 of them coming all the way from Qatar. Thanks guys for another awesome class!

Confined Space Tech II – Students From Around the Globe
 
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Rescue Team Profile – Motiva-Convent

Monday, October 04, 2010

Rescue Team Profile – Motiva-ConventAs part of our mission to develop a rescue community, we are asking teams to share their rescue experiences with the blog group. This month, Motiva in Convent, LA relates an interesting real-rescue their team faced.

This Motiva team has been working together for 20 years! They practice quarterly to keep their skills sharp, and have had to use their skills in action. Like so many of our guys, they find the Petzl ID to be a very useful and user friendly piece of equipment.

Here’s the story the Motiva team shared.

While cleaning in the engine room of a tug, a contractor had fallen off a grating onto the engine of the tug boat. Convent’s ERT reported to the dock, donned life vests and made their way into the engine room where they got a briefing from the tug captain and started assessing the patient. The patient was complaining of shoulder, leg, and back injuries.

Once the initial medical assessment was completed, a Sked stretcher and backboard were requested because of the narrow stairway leading to the engine room. A haul team was positioned on the dock using a crane as a high point. Crane was “locked & tagged out” once put into position. A main line and tag lines were lowered onto the barge and a 4:1 hauling system was set-up on the dock (multiple directionals were used because of the dock configuration).

A secondary medical evaluation was performed, and the patient was packaged in the Sked. The patient was then brought up from the engine room. Once on the deck, two safety lines (1head/1feet) were placed on the patient because he had to be slid along the handrail to be removed from the tug.

Once on the barge, the patient was connected to the main line and hauled up to the dock. From this point, medical care was transferred to Acadian Ambulance.

Special thanks to James Louque, HTU-2 Operations, V.E.R.T. Captain, C-Shift at Motiva’s Convent Refinery for taking the time to share their experience.

Rescue Team Profile – Motiva-Convent

The Rescue Team at Motiva-Convent Kneeling: Brady Edmonston, Derres Gautreaux, James Louque 2nd row: Ryan Roussel, Ted Roussel, John Guidry, Brian Crochet Back row: Todd Devare, Jesser Louque, Edward Turner, Randy Rogers
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Physical Training Prepares Miners for Rescue

Monday, September 27, 2010

SANTIAGO, CHILE – After nearly two months trapped in a collapsed copper mine, 33 miners begin training Monday for the final chapter of their underground odyssey: escape. As three simultaneous rescue operations slowly drill through 2,250 feet of solid rock, the men are receiving detailed instructions on the latest plans to haul them out one by one next month inside a torpedo-shaped rescue capsule dubbed “The Phoenix.”

A series of minor failures with drilling equipment and the challenge of carving out the nearly half-mile-long rescue tunnel have made the entire rescue operation uncertain. If the current three rescue operations fail, a Plan D calls for the men to climb ladders for hundreds of feet, a physical task so daunting that a personal trainer has been hired to coach the miners.

Jean Christophe Romagnoli, an adviser to both the Chilean military and professional athletes, has spent the past two weeks teaching the men light calisthenics in preparation for more strenuous phys-ed classes that begin Monday. “They have a two-kilometer stretch of tunnels; the men are walking the tunnels, and some of them are jogging as a group. We are using the U.S. Army fitness training as a model, so the men sing while they jog.” Romagnoli said the singing was a safety precaution to make sure the men kept their heartbeat between 120 and 140 beats per minute. “We know that if their heart rate goes above 140, they can’t sing and jog at the same time.”

Despite numerous challenges to training the men via videoconference from above, Romagnoli said the men were enthusiastic about the new routines. “One of the advantages we have is these guys are strong, they are accustomed to working their arms and upper body. This is not a sedentary population we are dealing with; they will respond quickly.” While rescue procedures call for the men to spend just 20 minutes inside the rescue cage, Romagnoli is preparing the men to stand immobile for as long as an hour. “Ideally we leave them with an ample margin of error,” he said.

Over the weekend, Chilean navy engineers delivered the first of three rescue capsules to the mine to start testing the custom-built cagelike structure. The Phoenix, painted with the colors of the Chilean flag, weighs just under 1,012 pounds and is equipped with WiFi communications and three oxygen tanks that allow the men to breathe for as long as 90 minutes. The capsule also has two emergency exits for use if the tube becomes wedged in the rescue shaft. In a worst-case scenario, the miner will be able to open the floor of the capsule and lower himself back into the depths of the mine.

Once the rescue tunnel is complete, two people – “a miner and a paramedic with rescue training” – will first be lowered into the hole, Jaime Manalich, Chile’s health minister, said as he outlined what he described as a 500-person rescue operation. Once lowered into the hole, the paramedic will administer medications and intravenous hydration to the men. Sedatives will be used if necessary to calm the men before the ride to the surface.

Using health charts and interviews, the rescue coordinators are classifying the miners into three groups: the able, the weak and the strong. The miners will be evacuated in that order, allowing the first group to serve as a test case for the more critical second group. The fittest men will be taken at the end of the operation, which is expected to last nearly two full days.

About the author: Jonathon Franklin is a special correspondent for the Washington Post, where this article was posted on September 27 .
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